The Basics of Macro Photography

Feb 10, 2016 by

Macro photography is defined as the type of photography that focuses on capturing small objects. It could be an insect or some small creature, a fine detail of an object, anything small that may catch your fancy.

It is also a challenging type of photography as well, as surrey wedding photographer would tell you, as there are specific settings to learn and equipment needed to accomplish it. Today, we shall be talking more about macro photography in depth as to how you can accomplish this type of photography.

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EQUIPMENT

The most important piece of equipment you would need for macro is the optics. In particular, you would need a lens that can move far away from the sensor since the subject is very close to the lens.

As such, most lenses cannot focus because the elements inside the lens are optimized for “regular” shooting and cannot deliver high quality when the nodal point is too far from the lens. Also, as the nodal point gains distance from the sensor, less light is hitting the sensor. If the lens was rated at, say. f/1.8 for “regular” photographs, it may not be able to deliver f/1.8 when the nodal point is that far away from the sensor.

To optimize your camera’s performance in macro photography, your camera should be equipped with macro lenses which are optimized for shooting at close focusing distances, less limited in getting the nodal point away from the sensor.

Another piece of equipment that can is useful to provide macro functionality is the macro extension tube. It is a circular elements that connect between the camera and the lens.

If you have limited budget to buy such equipment, there are less expensive alternatives. One of them would be the macro filters. There is also the method of reversing the lens which makes it gain macro abilities to an extent.

Another method is using two lenses to create a macro effect somewhat similar to the setup  that microscopes use. The first lens creates the image and the second one makes it bigger. You connect the lenses using a coupling ring and step-up rings if needed.

TRIPOD

When you shoot macro you have a very limited depth of field. With that shallow depth of field every change in the camera to object distance is crucial and can throw the subject into the blurred zone so you want to make sure that both the subject and the camera stays still, which is what a tripod is for.

LIGHTING FOR MACRO

With the settings in place for macro photography, one drawback with these settings is that light becomes too minimal to capture your subject well. But fortunately, there is a way to overcome the lack of light: strobes.

Strobes put out lots of light, sometimes too much light that you may need to dial the settings down. Another challenge is the light from the strobes can sometimes create unnecessary shadows. That is why it is important to place a diffused strobe pretty close to the subject, and another is using a ring flash.

TAKING THE SHOT

First things first, as it is often reminded, you should set your camera to manual focus. With a limited depth of field, as a photographer, you should be the one calling the creative calls (i.e. what’s in focus) and not depend on the location of the focus sensor in your camera. Proper composition is important.

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Tip: If there is a subject you wish to capture from a different or position, it would be very difficult doing so by moving the camera. Instead, reframe by moving subject instead. Just remember to re-focus.

How about the shallow depth of field problem? The good news is that it is completely doable. The bad news is this solution requires some work.

This work is called focus stacking is a method that combines the focused areas from a sequence of images, like different parts of an image then combining them into a single image through software.

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Take Better Portraits With These Tips

Jan 25, 2016 by

With the development of digital photography, not to mention the growth of the internet, especially social media, portraits have played a role more important than ever for the subject to capture the viewer’s attention. The more stunning and unique the portrait, the more likely it will gain attention.

As photographers like those of Red 5 Studios, you have the unenviable task of making your portrait photographs stand out. But as long as you keep in mind the tips we will be sharing to you here, you should not feel worried and instead take it as an opportunity to show what you got.

Tip # 1: Alter your perspective

Most portraits involve having the subject look directly to the camera in front of the subject. While there is nothing wrong with that, try playing with it a bit by changing your perspective and have the camera shoot from the top or below the subject for some more interesting perspectives and unique portraits in the process.

Tip # 2: Indirect eye contact is an option

Some of the most artistic portraits involve the subject not looking direct to the camera. This approach works especially if you wish to convey certain emotions or moods of the subject and/or the environment around him/her.

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Tip #3: Dare to break those composition rules

In photography, we are aware the “rule of thirds” as one of those rules that many photographers adhere to. While rules like this have their merit, there are some instances that call for one to break them. Of course, this would depend on the situation at hand but you can go a bit more experimental as to how your subject will be placed, as long as such things would not make the viewer lose focus on the subject in the process.

Tip # 4: Play around with the lighting

Lighting can affect the mood or the atmosphere of the portrait in question. As a photographer, make use of the lighting available in the area if possible to evoke whatever atmosphere or mood you wish to convey, adding a bit more impact to the portrait in general thanks to the light play in place.

Tip # 5: Bring your subject out of the comfort zone

Portraits need not look like the usual pose in front of the camera. Be creative and daring in experimenting on new things and ideas and persuade your subject to take part in those plans you may have. While it may be awkward for the subject to do the things you want him/her to do, it does help bring about the subject’s more natural and playful side, providing a more multi-dimensional perspective on the subject as well as highlight the artistry employed in the photo.

Tip # 6: Capture candid moments

While portraits are generally about shooting people in predetermined poses, this does not mean you have to be confined with that type of shoot. In fact, in some instances, shooting subjects in their candid moments would be the more preferable way to go, especially in some cases when posed portraits would not look good on your subject. As with the case of the previous tip, this approach lets your subject act more natural, providing a multi-dimensional perspective as viewers will get to appreciate as well what your subject is like.

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Tip # 7: Make use of props

Sometimes, other objects can help enhance the portrait you’re trying to shoot, adding more elements of fun and character to the subject as well. Props do not have to be elaborate; they could be as simple as a balloon or a hat, as long as they serve to accentuate and not distract the subject in the portrait overall.

Tip # 8: Take a series of shots

When your subject is someone who cannot stay still, or if your concept for the portrait involves someone being in motion, it would be helpful to take not one but numerous shots of the subject, setting your camera to continuous shooting if applicable. With this, there would be better chances for you to capture a perfect shot for the portrait, or you can use the set to capture your subject in candid series of portraits.

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Capturing Photos With A Telephoto Lens

Jan 6, 2016 by

Those who make the transition from point and shoot cameras, especially super zoom cameras, to DSLRs usually get frustrated with the fact that DSLRs, especially many of the kit lenses they offer, do not provide far-reaching zoom to capture distant objects.

This shortcoming is where telephoto lenses come in. Like the built-in zoom lenses of point and shoot cameras, these types of lenses aim to bring far subjects closer to be captured on photo. Telephoto lenses are ideal for capturing detailed characteristics of tall objects or that of wildlife from a safe distance.

Aside from that, the telephoto lens has other functions as well:

  1. Filling The Frame

You can use a telephoto lens to focus in on certain elements if you wish to exclude some part of the image that you see on your frame, so you don’t have to do some cropping in post-production.

  1. Picking Distant Subjects Out

If you want to draw attention of the viewer to a particular aspect that would be lost if shot with a wider focal length, use a telephoto lens to isolate your subject. While you can do this with shorter focal lengths, the longer reach of a telephoto means you can focus the aspect better by isolating the subject and remove the other unnecessary elements.

  1. Capturing Shots Of Wildlife

As a telephoto lens closes the distance between you and the subject you’re shooting, it’s an ideal lens for photographing wildlife. With a telephoto lens you’ll be able to take shots that look like you were just that close from your subject when really you were a number of meters away. This distance means your subject won’t be scared off and if you’re shooting what could be considered as a dangerous animal, the distance makes it safer for you.

  1. Photographing The Moon

Your shots may not end up as good as those who use telescopes, but you can still get excellent shots of the moon with a long telephoto lens. Of course, you also need a tripod, clear skies, good weather, remote/cable release, a few hours to spare, and good technique.

  1. Getting a Shallow Depth Of Field

Telephoto lenses make it easier to get the blurry backgrounds in photos that isolate your subject and really make them the focus of your shot. You don’t want a distracting background detail competing for the viewer’s attention and a shallow depth of field will make sure this doesn’t happen.

  1. Capturing Action

There are certain events that will not allow you to shoot the action closely, like many sporting activities. Thus, you will need telephoto lenses to help you at least capture moments as if you’re close to where the action is, so to speak.

Downsides

As great as telephoto lenses are, there are also some donwsides in using this lens. One of which is with regards to their size. Depending on the telephoto lens you use, they can be cumbersome and heavy to carry around.  They can also be very expensive as the lenses themselves can cost as much as a DSLR itself.

For Specific Photography Needs

It is these factors that make the telephoto lens more of a niche product at the moment that only photographers with certain needs would use. It may or may not be ideal for portrait photography but some ideal uses for this lens would be for wildlife, travel, sports, concerts, and fashion, among others that would require the photographer to capture detailed images from a great deal of distance.

But if you have the resources and would like to take you photography farther, figuratively and literally, a telephoto lens is a good investment that would enable to shoot better, detailed photos up close.

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Tips On Finding Video-Capable Cameras

Dec 15, 2015 by

With today’s technological innovations, we are now seeing devices that can do a lot more than what they previously could do. Take the case of the cameras today that are not only capable of taking pictures but can also take videos as well.

Thus, many consumers, even photographers like a documentary wedding photographer, are not only looking at image quality when they are shopping for digital cameras but now, even video quality as well. But while are all pretty much capable of shooting high definition video, they pretty much differ with the internals of their video functionality. Something we will discuss here in a bit more detail

SENSORS MATTER

To be specific, the most important feature to check out in the camera is its sensor size. Simply put, the sensor size affects the camera’s video capabilities, particularly in the elements of depth of field, field of view, light sensibility, and even the lenses available. We shall take a look at each element and how the sensor plays an important factor.

Field of View

Field of view provides how your subject is viewed at a given distance. In general, larger sensors provide a wide view of the subject compared to smaller sensors which only capture a portion of that wide view the large sensors captured.

Depth of Field

Depth of field determines how sharp the subject and/or the background would look in the video. This is the element at play in films and TV shows where we see the subject is in focus but the background behind the subject is blurred, which is an example of a shallow depth of field.

What does sensor size have to do with it? Well if you would like to have such effect on your video, this is achieved if your camera has a large sensor, like a full-frame sensor for instance. Smaller sensors have a bit more difficulty achieving such effects.

Light Sensitivity

Larger sensors are more sensitive to light, which brings out more vivid detail in photos, as well as in videos. This is very important when it comes to shooting videos in low light environments.

VIDEO RESOLUTION

Another important feature to check in the camera is the video resolution. If you are looking into shooting a lot of videos in your camera, then your camera should be capable of shooting high definition videos. At the very least, the camera should support at least a 1080p resolution for video. And if you’re looking something with better quality or something cinema-like in video quality, consider checking out cameras capable of shooting 4K video resolution, which is the highest video quality available today.

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OTHER FEATURES TO LOOK OUT FOR

While sensor size and video resolution play a significant role in the camera’s video capability, there are a number of important features to consider as well which may be crucial for your videography needs.

ISO Range

Some cameras like prosumers, mirrorless, and DSLR cameras offer a choice to change your camera’s ISO settings. In this case, it is important to check out is the ISO range of the camera. The more ISO selections available provide for more choices in tweaking the light sensitivity of the camera to create more satisfactory quality in the video.

Record Length

A number of cameras have a limit as to how many minutes of video you can record in a single shot. That’s something to consider if you would need to record an hour long video for instance.

Focus Assist

Some cameras offer this handy feature to help your camera keep focus on the subject with less to no loss in video quality.

Flip out Screen

This is very helpful for you to be able to do low shots or the subject to be able to see himself/herself as to how he/she would appear in the camera.

Slow Motion

Some cameras offer slow motion feature that allows you to capture slow motion videos during production

A MATTER OF LENSES

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Depending on the camera you’re considering for video, you may or may not be able to change lenses of the camera. And if you’re looking into doing more extensive videography, that would play an important factor. With that said, point-and-shoot and other cameras that won’t let you change its lens may not be suited for those looking into doing more advanced video work. You may have to go with mirrorless or DSLR cameras to do the job instead.

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No Photo Studio? Why Not Use Your Garage?

Nov 25, 2015 by

As a newbie photographer who’s trying to get into the photography business, having a studio is very necessary. But if you do not have the resources yet to set up a professional looking studio like Red 5 Studios, why not start right at home…literally? A photography business based out of your home is one of the ways for you to get started in becoming a professional photographer. Not to mention you don’t have to spend more on getting that new space and other expenses along with it since you are still starting out.

And if you don’t have a spare room to use as a studio, one great option would be to use the garage. Garages are spacious areas that leave enough room for your equipment and other things you will need for your photography studio. Here are the things you need to know on how you can use your garage to be your studio for your home photography business:

Step 1: Be Legal

First things first, it is important to have a strong legal foundation on your business to avoid future headaches, not to mention you will be able to deal with potential clients better by being a registered business. Make sure you get to know and follow the local regulations and laws in establishing a business. Along with it, it is also important to set up a bank account and deposit what you have planned to invest in your new business. Use this account also to pay for all your expenses.

Step 2: Set up Your Garage

Converting your garage into a studio, or at least an amateur one, would depend very much on your financial resources. You must already know that professional photography equipment is expensive. Furthermore you need to consider and explore a few things before you get started. It is good if the ceiling of the garage is high, so that high camera viewpoints are possible. Also make sure you have enough space in the garage to set up your studio, especially if part of the garage is used for something else. Related to that, make sure that the existing equipment in the garage would not get in the way of the photography equipment you will set up for the studio.

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Step 3: Set up Your Equipment

As it is the standard, you should first paint the ceiling and the walls in washable white. Choose the walls you will be using as backgrounds before installing the electrical outlets. You will need to have multiple power outlets for the equipment you will be setting up, and they need to be placed according to the background walls. Do not forget the air conditioning or some sort of ventilation as it will most probably get hot due to the lights you will be using. Speaking of lighting, the position of the garage door is also important as to how the light in the studio will play out.

Step 4: Light Your Garage

During the day, you can benefit from the large source of natural light coming into your garage studio, so you can use some lightweight equipment for starters like chairs, decors, and tripods that you can easily relocate according to the light. If you can’t afford all the professional tools and kits, there are a number of good DIY ideas on how to set the lighting up yourself.

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Step 5: Make room for growth, literally and figuratively

As you will become more knowledgeable and gain more work in your photography business, make sure you make an investment on additional learning and equipment that will help you shoot better photos. If it would warrant you to move to a bigger venue, perhaps a proper studio environment, it would be your call. What is important is that you are prepared to take your business to the next step.

 

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Why You Should Connect With Other Wedding Photographers

Nov 2, 2015 by

As a photographer starting out in the business of wedding photography, it is important that you get people to notice your work. And with competition tight these days, it is important that you market your business well in order for you to find more customers. However, this may be too much of a cost for you to handle especially if your strategies are not enough.

However, there’s no reason to lose hope. The good news is that there is a cost-efficient and effective method that will let you grow your business as a wedding photographer. And that is through building a network of wedding vendors who will help you find and connect with potential clients and be known in the photography industry as well.

There are a number of ways how building your network would help your business and your photography career, and we will note some of them below.

1

Referrals

Referrals will greatly benefit your business because your fellow wedding vendors can refer their clients to you. In return, do the same thing and refer your clients to them as well. You will never know your clients might be looking for a florist, caterer and other specific wedding vendor. Your recommendations would be a great help to them and they’ll thank you for it, which may help boost your profile in the process.

Connect with the Right People

When you connect with other wedding vendors, it is important to choose carefully who you’ll connect with. You need to connect and be friends with the right people, those who are already in the wedding industry before you came in like Amatya Photography. They know more people and are more experienced enough for them to  share with you more helpful advice on how to make it in the industry.

Weddings vendors can also be your real friends even when you’re not talking to them about business. Spend some time with them and have even small conversations which would help deepen the ties between you both.

3

Feature Each Other’s Work

When there is no wedding to cover, you can feature the business of your friends on your website, even as simple as putting in the credits the make-up artist who did the bride’s makeup or the venue where the shoot was taken. You may also schedule a photo session and take shots of their office or store as well as their products and/or services. This gesture will surely make them happy and they will most likely feature your business on their website as well.

By building a strong network, you will have a greater chance of gaining more customers, grow your business and make a name in the wedding industry in the long run.

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Comparing Traditional and Modern Wedding Photography

Oct 12, 2015 by

With the evolution of photography and media in recent years, there is also an evolution happening as well in the realm of wedding photography. This evolution has brought about not only change in the style of capturing photographs of such events.

In particular, this has brought up two different and distinct styles of wedding photography: the traditional wedding photography and the modern wedding photography. Quite often, this has been a subject of debate among wedding photographers as to which is the best, not to mention a source of confusion among those who are about to getting married not only on the aspect of what they are but also as to which would be the best for them.

To answer these questions, it is important first to know what these different wedding photography styles are about and what they bring to the table as far as the output is concerned.

TRADITIONAL WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY

As the term implies, traditional wedding photography is the oldest style of wedding photography that has been practiced by photographers for years since photography began. It is the photography style your parents and the ones before them were used to when they got married.

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Traditional wedding photography is considered to be the more “rigid” and “predictable” style as the photographer has taken note of a set of moments to capture, with everything planned out beforehand. It usually is characterized by formal setups with people looking stiff at the camera. As such, candid moments are rarely captured by this type of wedding photography, creating an impression that the images produced look “fake” or “stiff” in the sense that the genuine emotions of a wedding are not perfectly encapsulated by these images.

Also due to the “rigid” nature of this photography style, it is also a style that is time consuming. Photographers of this style, like a surrey wedding photographer, would take more time in setting up the areas where the photos will be taken and other pertinent details of the shots to be planned, making sure the elements are set up the way the photographer envisioned it to be.

MODERN WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY

What makes this style of wedding photography “modern” is that it incorporates more contemporary and modern elements that are being employed in photography these days from the different angles used to the capturing of random, unguarded moments. This style of photography has become more popular in recent years as the preference for realism in photography has become the trend around the same time. Current trends indicate that this particular wedding photography style is the style of choice among many couples who plan to get married.

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The modern wedding photography also aims to tell the story of the wedding as it happens naturally, with less to no direction or supervision being provided by the photographer. Thus, raw, spontaneous moments and emotions of people at the wedding are captured. For photographers, they get more freedom to capture any moment that are noted to be recorded, without having to rely on a preplanned list of moments to be taken.

TAKING THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS

With such contrasting styles and approaches that are popular in wedding photography these days, there are some photographers who manage to combine elements of both styles into one. It would not be surprising to see in their portfolios some photos of a wedding shot in modern style while other photos were taken in the traditional style. In addition, employing both styles provide an opportunity for photographers to be creative in documenting the wedding, employing one particular style in moments that may be deemed appropriate by the photographer.

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Nevertheless, there is a dominant style that can be gleaned at such photos, as only a few photographers have managed to acquire true expertise of both styles. More often than not, majority of the photographers choose to develop expertise in a single style of photography and at times, employ elements of other styles to make a unique photography style that will be distinguished from the rest.

Ultimately, the choice of wedding photography style is up to personal preferences as each style is suited to fit certain preferences and tastes of the couple. If you have yet to decide on a photography style you would like to see in your wedding, check out the works of different photographers who employ either style of photography and see which style you would prefer. After all, a wedding is your moment and you get the freedom to choose which style would capture your moment the way you want it.

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